I feel like a horrible granddaughter. I should’ve spent more time with him while he was here last year. I should’ve dropped him off at the airport, but I wanted to make it to the FUCKING BAR in time to watch the World Series. I spent that morning and afternoon with him, but I left early FOR BASEBALL. He was about a 30 minute drive away for a good roughly 6 months last year, and I visited him less than 6 times because I was lazy. He wasn’t even that far. I spend more than 30 minutes on my phone checking Instagram and Facebook. The last thing he did for me was leave a Facebook comment on my wall, telling me not to be discouraged about my job search. What did I do? I hid it, because I was embarrassed that people would see me struggling and upset with him for putting personal information like that out there. I never messaged him back, or even went on his page. When I finally did last night, I noticed he had an entire album of me as a baby. He took pictures of actual photographs with his phone and uploaded them, blurry and everything. And I couldn’t even send him a simple message to see how he was doing. I am a fucking asshole.
My grandfather once shot someone in the Filipino embassy because the guy said he wouldn’t do it (Lawwwd). He dated a legitimate Princess that threw him a birthday party at her and her husband’s house in Hillsdale (wait, what? you heard me). He wore orange and purple suits as bright as his personality, and white gators and gaudy gold jewelry to match. He was always the first person on the dancefloor to grab a partner and boogie, and the last person on the mic because nobody wanted to follow his Tagalog rendition of Sinatra’s My Way. He had a TERRIBLE temper that was fortunately offset by his wonderful sense of humor. I get it from my mom, and my mom gets it from him. And I didn’t know it until recently, but my grandfather is an amazing writer. I guess you can say I get that from him too.
He was never the affectionate type. We never hugged unless it was to say hello or good-bye, and I can’t even remember the last time we told each other that we loved one another. But I knew he loved me. I knew it in the way he would always give me $10.00 in high school whenever I would ask him. I knew it because he would always pick me up after class, and waited to embarrass me on top of the hill. I knew, because he carried a picture of me in his wallet that I never knew existed until he brought it out in order to win a baby-shower game. I knew, because he took the food I couldn’t finish at the buffet and hid it in a napkin to throw away in the bathroom for me.
My grandfather was known for being many things. A jokester, a womanizer, a journalist, and the life of the party just to name a few. But I knew him as Daddy-Jorge.The man who would make me my favorite Filipino dish chicken tinola, even though he didn’t like it himself. The man who would always make me laugh even if it meant embarrassing himself like in the picture below. But most of all, I will know him as the man who did anything and everything just to make sure his family was OK. Even if I never said it before, I love you Daddy-Jorge. I hope to be even half as selfless as you are.
Me and Daddy-Jorge the day he picked up his certificate of naturalization. He thought I was so embarrassing because I kept making him take cheesy pictures in front of things like Bald Eagle posters and American flags lol.